January 22nd, 1901 DR (Dwarf Reckoning)
The Borderlands campaign began with the adventurers traveling along the High Kings road to Leomhann Keep. The characters began the adventure in various fashions. Oddley the resilient human ranger was warming himself by a small fire while resting in a make-shift lean-to. J’dane a fierce northern warrior-priest of Odin, was traveling southwest across the grasslands to Leomhann. Rohanna a clever half-elven thief, in the company of Whimsikally an elven illusionist of dubious past, were travelling on the High Kings Road from the realms to the south. Lastly was the elven wizard Mimdalf from the Winter Court of the elves to the very far north, he had been staying in the small town of Woad and was out exploring the lands to the east of the town. This will be a moment in time where a near-tragic event will create a bond between five would be adventurers.
There is a shout of alarm and then cries of “danger” and “help” coming from the Bridge of Abacus. The bridge was designed in the distant past by the followers of Abacus, a lawful god. The bridge has two weathered statues at both sides depicting a stern faced man with 3 faces in robes holding a staff or an open book. The shouts of alarm are coming from 4 young boys, (one actually a girl, “tom boy”). They are trying to reach one of their number that has slipped and fallen thru the ice. Let me explain now that the weather here is quite chilly and in the shadows of the bridge the swift northern stream has ice formed around the foundation. The children had apparently been fishing out on the ice to be able to reach the deepest part of the stream. The adventurers rush to the aid of the children from the four principle cardinal directions. (NSEW) Oddley immediately runs back to his lean-to nearby and obtains a long pole. Mimdalf heads down the bank to where the other children are. Rohanna and Whimsikally stand atop the bridge and look down on the scene. J’dane rushes down the bank and cautiously out onto the ice. Just as Oddley returns with a long pole, the adventurers see a large dark form moving under the ice toward the struggling boy. The boy issues one last cry and is pull off the ice and into the water. He just seems to disappear and the dark shape moves on. Oddly quickly uses the pole meant for rescue into a weapon and bashes at the dark shape. J’dane leaps into the rushing water axe flailing. Rohanna loads her crossbow and takes careful aim. Mimdalf pulls the other children up the bank and away from the ice. The battle commences with what seems to be a giant 10’ long catfish, the belly of the catfish pulses and moves unnaturally as the child struggles for life. The Ranger bashes the catfish in a flurry of blows, J’dane chops at the head of the fish with a huge axe, and Rohanna begins firing into the monster with her crossbow. The monster is slain with a great cleave from J’dane’s axe. Oddley quickly cuts the boy from the stomach of the beast, and Whimsikally creates an illusion of an even bigger fish to scare away a second monstrous catfish. The boy is near death, but with a powerful healing spell from J’dane the boy is saves. Mimdalf quickly dries the boy with a spell and with another spell protects him from the cold. Oddley meanwhile, fillets the giant catfish and recovers rolls of tasty flesh from the beast.
The children guide the adventurers to the town of Woad where they reunited Midal, the young boy they saved, with his father Hobbard. Hobbard is the Innkeeper/owner of the Frosty Dragon Inn. Hobbard is a man of some 40 winters and dresses somewhat like a gypsy. He has a monkey named Frank that darts about the bar polishing things with a small bar towel. Hobbard is undyingly grateful with the party and offers the use of the common room upstairs for as long as the PC’s desire, giving them the key. The common room is a large bunk-house type room with six beds and unlocked footlockers at the foot of each bed. Oddley sells Hobbard all of the Tasty catfish at a tidy profit. (The inn for several days has an “all you can eat” for 2 s.p. on roasted catfish! )
The evening goes well for the adventurer’s as news of their heroic rescue is spread by the children from the bridge. They are warmed by the fire and the mulled wine that is made available to them at no cost. They learn many rumors and stories from the local area. All of the adventures had intended to answer the call for sell swords at Leomhann Keep. They soon learn that Duke Leomhann “The Red Lion” has been missing for 5 years, and there was actually a 5,000gp for the safe return of the Duke. The Keep lies roughly a mile to the north of Woad. Woad is a smallish town of several hundred persons. The buildings are of plaster, stone, and a strange wood that turns a blue-grey as it ages. (Thus the town’s name of Woad) The party also learns of the events leading up to the disappearance of the Duke. His Grace was tasked nearly a decade prior with the taming of the northern lands. The Keep was constructed and a local coven of witches, (who had been exacting tribute from the local people) this coven was sought out and destroyed. One witch escaped justice, Helvetika, and has promised revenge on the people and the Duke. In addition the PC’s learn of a dangerous area to the northeast called the Caves of Chaos, and of the old Zenopus’s Tower. The tower has stood here since the early days of Woad and was the “lair” of Zenopus a mad wizard how was said to conjure demons and work all manner of foul magics, until one day he disappeared. Strange blue lights can be seen at night, as well as goblins dancing and cavorting at the top of the tower. The current ruler at Leomhann Keep is the Duke’s Castilian who is the one who has offered the reward for the safe return of the Duke, as well as a reward for bringing the witch Helvetika to justice. The Castilian has stationed a small squad of men-at-arms in Woad at the site of the ruined tower with a catapult, but he does not wish to risk destroying the tower and sealing off the secret laboratories or dungeons the mad wizard had constructed beneath. The Duke may be held captive there. His patients with the structure is waning and so much time has passed he has almost reached the decision to destroy it, but first he may allow some adventurers to explore it.
January 23nd, 1901 DR (Dwarf Reckoning)
The Borderlands campaign day 2
The party spends the day in planning on their next move, getting to know one another and their reasons for forming a group to go adventuring. It is decided they will consult with the Castilian and try to learn some more information about the missing Duke, the Tower, and the Witch. Locations that the party visit include “The Frosty Dragon” this is the Inn in Woad; “The Secret Door” which is a specialty shop owned by an aged gnome Omber Mistlfitz. “The Forge” owned by Kettle Swordsmith a Dwarven armorer and weapon maker extraordinaire, Mimdalf visits Kettle and commissions a expert dagger to be crafted; Sopporo an herbalist and healer; and the General Store or local provisioner’s shoppe. The group also hire 2 men-at-arms Weslo and Martin. The party decides that Zenopus’s Tower would be the best place to begin their investigation. The adventurers meet and receive permission to explore the ruins of the tower and what may lie underneath. They also learn a few things about the Duke and just before his disappearance. He had been acting out of character and had fallen ill with some ailment, just before he disappeared. The party returns to the inn to rest and ready themselves for the Tower.
The calm night is broken by screams of terror. The town of Woad comes under attack by the witch Helvetika. The witch rides about the town waving a bronze censor to and fro. A sickly, green smoke is cast about the entire town. The adventures awaken and dash outside in an attempt to see whats happening. The witch flies away with Rohanna the only one able to engage the witch with her crossbow, she missed. The green smoke seemed to cause the villagers a type of sickness or weakness of which the PC’s were spared.
The party enters Zenopus’s Tower in midafternoon. The window provided easy access to a long damaged study. The party searches the room only to discover that this room has seen quite a bit of traffic from human looters as well as what look to be goblins. Whimsikally hears a voice telling her to “Get Out or Die” and the Oddly the ranger sees cold misty breath on a broken mirror, and the letters being written as if on the other side of the frosted mirror stating “Get Out”. The unwelcome party further searches the tower and many fleeting shadows are noticed just outside their vision. Their search finds the frozen corpse of a female thief. There are no marks of violence on the body, and coins are still in her purse. The party is then attacked by a shadow, the undead is held at bay by the Holy might of Odin wielded by J’dane the cleric. The party eventually slays the undead and the body is moved into the afternoon sunlight. They proceed upstairs to the roof of the tower. Here they investigate the blazes of blue light as seen from the night before. The roof of the tower is uninhabited accept for the tale tell signs of a ritual being prepared. A magic circle has been drawn in salt and what seems to be blood and on a makeshift altar a dimly, glowing blue lantern is discovered. The lantern is obviously magical and strange rune can be seen carved on the inside of the glass lantern panes. J’dane takes the lantern, perhaps fouling the witch’s plans for that evening. The party having explored the ruins of the tower travel down to its lowest level where they discover a sealed trap door in the paved floor. The party unbars the trap door and descend below.